The first week of the 2009 NFL season is officially in the books and there were plenty of big developments throughout the league. Defensive game-changers Troy Polamalu, Brian Urlacher and O.J. Mayo all went down with injuries that will keep them out for a significant amount of time (the rest of the season in Urlacher's case). Donovan McNabb got hurt in Philly's blowout victory over Carolina that has lead to Jeff Garcia returning to the City of Brotherly Love. Here are a few other thoughts from each of the Week One contests.
Pittsburgh def. Tennessee, 13-10: I have to apologize to Titans fans because I really underrated their team. Kerry Collins played very well and looked very relaxed and in control in the face of the league's best defense. They don't look like they'll miss Albert Haynesworth at all. Pittsburgh won the game, but they need to do something about their running game. The ground game was virtually non-existent. The defense once again looked great, but the loss of Polamalu will hurt them a bit.
Atlanta def. Miami, 19-7: Miami just does not have the weapons to come back against a team like the Falcons. Their margin for error is so small and Atlanta exploited that. Matt Ryan picked up where he left off last year with a pretty good game. Atlanta's offense should be more in sync as the season progresses.
Denver def. Cincinnati, 12-7: A lot of people predicted that the Bengals could be an eight or nine win team this season. If Sunday was any indicator, they will be lucky to win six games. Denver is a bad team that the Bengals should have beaten easily. Outside of their touchdown drive, Cincy's offense just looked off all day. On Denver's side, this victory is nice, but they needed a once in a lifetime play to get it. On the plus side, the defense looked good.
Minnesota def. Cleveland, 34-20: Adrian Peterson is a beast. Something I am sure you already knew, but after this weekend's performance, it needed to be written. Brett Favre was basically a game manager, which was pretty smart on the coaching staff's part. Cleveland did not play bad in the first half, but they are not good enough to hang with good teams.
Indianapolis def. Jacksonville, 14-12: Like many of their other matchups over the past few seasons, this was another close game. Indy was able to pull it out, but they did lose Anthony Gonzalez, which may hurt the offense a little bit. For Jacksonville, it is the same old story: close, but no cigar.
New Orleans def. Detroit, 45-27: Even though Detroit left New Orleans with a loss, they did look decent and actually stayed close for a while. Matt Stafford looked good at times and bad at others, which is to be expected with a rookie. On the other side of things, Drew Brees continued to rip up secondaries everywhere as he tossed six touchdowns. However, New Orleans' defense still has some work to do.
Dallas def. Tampa Bay, 34-21: Terrell who? It is way too early to start asking that, but the Cowboys did have three long touchdown passes, although some of that was due to how bad Tampa's secondary was playing. Nonetheless, Tony Romo played well and Dallas picked up the victory.
Philadelphia def. Carolina, 38-10: I already alluded to Philly's quarterback situation, but I think the bigger development to come out of this game is Jake Delhomme. For the second game in a row, he played horribly. Carolina painted themselves into a corner with all of the guaranteed money they gave him over the summer and now it is coming back to haunt them. He has to have a good performance next week, not only for the team, but for his own confidence. The whole team looked bad, but as we all know, it always falls on the quarterback.
Baltimore def. Kansas City, 38-24: Kansas City is another team that looked a lot better than I thought they would. They scored a good amount of points on the vaunted Ravens defense with their back-up quarterback starting. However, Baltimore got the victory and their offense looks great. Granted, it was against the Chiefs, but they still looked great.
New York Jets def. Houston, 24-7: The Jets are yet another team that exceeded my expectations. Mark Sanchez was really, really good, especially on third downs. He stayed composed throughout and led his team all game long. The Jets' defense also looked really good. On the other side, simply put, Houston came out and laid an egg. The offense did nothing all day long and the defense looked sluggish. They better play better next week, or their playoff hopes will be over very soon.
New York Giants def. Washington, 23-17: New York dominated this game. The only problem is that the final score did not show it. They let Washington hang around way too long and they cannot do that against better teams. One the positive side, the Giant defensive line looked great, as they have over the past few years. The Redskins were the Redskins. That's really all I can say about their performance. It was not horrible, not great. It was just there.
San Francisco def. Arizona, 20-16: Arizona better get their stuff together quickly. They looked bored at times and just lethargic. San Francisco, on the other hand, looked energized and on the rise as they beat Arizona.
Seattle def. St. Louis, 28-0: I will keep this one short. I do not think we can really judge what how good Seattle is yet because this was not close at all. It will be another long season for St. Louis.
Green Bay def. Chicago, 21-15: Somewhere on Sunday night, Kyle Orton had a huge smile on his face. Jay Cutler was horrendous in the first half and not much better in the second half. Things got worse for Chicago as Urlacher hurt his wrist and was sidelined for the rest of the year. The defense did look good however, particularly Adewale Ogunleye, who was all over Aaron Rodgers all night. Speaking of Rodgers, he did not have a great night, but he led a fourth quarter comeback, which is something he did not do last year. This is probably the type of game he needed.
New England def. Buffalo, 25-24: Bottom line on this game, Buffalo choked. For the third year in a row on Monday Night Football (against the Cowboys in 2007 and the Browns last year), the Bills coughed the game up. They played a pretty good game for about 58 minutes. Leodis McKelvin made the mistake of coming out of the end zone instead of taking the touchback and then not going down immediately after being hit. To the Pats' credit, they took advantage of all of Buffalo's late-game mistakes. However, New England clearly has to work on their defense.
San Diego def. Oakland, 24-20: Another near-upset. If JaMarcus Russell could consistently hit his receivers, Oakland would be 1-0 right now. Oakland's defense was all over Phillip Rivers, but San Diego showed composure and was able to pull off the victory. LaDainian Tomlinson looks to be continuing his slide from once being considered the best in the game.
Top 12 Teams
- Pittsburgh Steelers: They have not done anything to lose the top spot.
- Philadelphia Eagles: They looked absolutely dominant on Sunday, but McNabb's injury will hurt them.
- Tennessee Titans: I really liked how they played this past week. They will be around in January.
- New York Giants: Aside from letting the Skins hang around for way too long, they looked like a well-oiled machine.
- New England Patriots: They came thisclose to starting out 0-1, but the most important thing is that they pulled out the win.
- Atlanta Falcons: They quietly put on a dominating performance.
- Baltimore Ravens: The offense looks the best any Baltimore offense has looked in a very long time. That means big trouble for the rest of the league.
- New Orleans Saints: I love how they played this weekend and the defense looks improved.
- Minnesota Vikings: As long as they keep feeding Adrian Peterson like they did in Week One, they will be a very good team.
- Green Bay Packers: After how they just rolled through the preseason, they needed a game like the one they had against the Bears. It will help them down the line.
- San Diego Chargers: They were lucky to get out of Oakland with a win. However, they have the talent (and they are in a bad enough division) that can carry them to a great regular season record.
- Indianapolis Colts: Something about this team just doesn't click for me. I have no idea what it is, but I cannot see them making a deep run this year. Nonetheless, they picked up the victory against a tough Jacksonville team.
That is all for this article. I hope you enjoyed it and I will have my picks in on Friday.